Taking a big, lump-sum settlement for your workers’ compensation claim can sound appealing.
You get a nice financial boost, and you get to close the door on a workers’ comp claim that’s a hassle to deal with at times.
But should you settle your Louisiana workers’ comp claim?
It’s not so simple.
Settling is a permanent decision. While you can close the door on the workers’ comp system, a door closes for you, too.
Workers’ Compensation, LLC, has helped thousands of people in the New Orleans area and around Louisiana win benefits, hold on to benefits, and reach settlements. Workers’ Comp Is What We Do.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss reasons you might want to settle your workers’ comp claim—and reasons not to settle.
Typically, your claim is completely over. In exchange for one pot of money, you give up the right to receive more benefits for the same workplace injury later.
If there’s a chance you’ll still need medical care for your injury or occupational illness, even down the line, it could be risky to voluntarily end your workers’ comp with a settlement. It’s hard to predict how much it will cost to have additional medical procedures if you end up needing them. The workers’ comp attorneys at Workers’ Compensation, LLC, can help evaluate this, weigh all of your options, and help you make the best decision for YOU.
Some other considerations about settling your workers’ comp claim:
Many types of workers’ comp benefits in Louisiana end after 10 years. But not necessarily PTD or Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), which is special compensation you can receive for permanent scarring or disfigurement, loss of use of a body part or a complete amputation.
Permanent Partial Disability pays you for irreversible damage to your body, even when you’re able to return to working.
You’ll need to weigh whether to take a lump sum settlement and end your benefits, or whether it’s better to keep collecting benefits on a regular basis for years to come.
(If your job injury will leave you unable to work permanently, you also may be able to get financial assistance from Social Security Disability. Our firm has a disability law division that can help. Learn more at Empower Disability.)
This is the most likely time you might be ready to settle your workers’ comp claim:
If your doctor concludes that your injuries have stabilized, and your condition is unlikely to improve with more medical care, then you’ve reached MMI.
This is the least risky time to seek a lump sum settlement of your workers’ comp claim, because the chances you’ll need more future medical treatment for your job injury are low.
You may also use a settlement as a strategy for this situation:
You’re still hurt, but doctors who don’t truly understand how you’re feeling think you can go back to work full time.
This lets the workers’ comp insurance company try to put you back at work in a job you have never worked before and reduce, or worse, stop your workers’ compensation checks.
Before your checks shrink or stop, this may be the best time to negotiate a settlement.
And here’s another consideration in deciding on a workers’ comp settlement:
This is a personal decision about where you are in your life now, where you’re going next, and whether you feel confident leaving regular assistance from workers’ comp behind.
Keep in mind that workers’ comp insurance companies and employers are not required to settle workers’ comp cases. They can reject any offer from you.
If you want a settlement, you’ll need to get them to agree. They will carefully analyze how much money they will likely spend continuing to pay your benefits in the future vs. settling.
Workers’ comp settlements also come in different forms. A lump-sum settlement wraps up your existing benefits. If you have a dispute with the workers’ comp insurer over what benefits you should receive in the first place, another type of settlement simply resolves what you will get.
You can also receive the one-time payment in a lump sum, or work out a plan to receive installments over time.
Throughout this process, you want a tough negotiator making sure you arrive at the best deal possible.
This is about your stability, serenity and financial future.
Thinking about settling your workers’ comp claim in Louisiana?